Apple Can Do No Right

Over at The Wall Street Journal Daisuke Wakabayashi on Apple Watch first-year sales:

Apple Inc. sold twice as many Watches as iPhones in each device’s debut year. Yet the smartwatch is dogged by a perception that seems premature given the history of Apple’s most popular devices: disappointment.

As the Watch marks its first anniversary on Sunday—two days before Apple’s quarterly earnings announcement—the product’s fate is critical to the company. It is Apple’s first all-new product since the iPad and a test of its ability to innovate under Chief Executive Tim Cook, when sales of iPhones are slowing.

Right on cue, the tech press continues it’s modern tradition of showing us how Apple can do no right, ever.



Super Fast Mario

Kottke on the new speed record for Super Mario Bros:

NES player darbian just broke his own record for the fastest time through Super Mario Bros. He completed the entire game in just 4 minutes 57.260 seconds. But the most entertaining part of the video is watching his heart rate slowly creep up from 80 bpm at the beginning to ~140 bpm in World 8-2 and spiking to 171 bpm when he beats the record.

This is a game I grew up with and played over 30 years ago and kids are still playing it AND breaking records.




Kindle Oasis…More Like Kindling a Fire in the Desert, AmIRight?

Khoi Vinh is not down with the new Kindle Oasis:

The Kindle’s surprisingly resilient upward trajectory—the company insists that the Kindle line is still a source of revenue growth, even in the face of smartphone and tablet ubiquity—is a reminder that “good design” is hardly universal. When it comes to digital products, people value things that work well more than they value things that look good. Apparently working really well is good enough for this audience—Kindle users love their Kindles. It doesn’t much matter, I guess, that my stomach goes queasy and my eyes start to bleed every time I try to read anything in a Kindle.

I haven’t owned or used a Kindle since the first generation model, but I do use the iOS app on my iPhone and iPad. My #1 complaint? The Kindle app still paginates books without the ability to continuous scroll (as if every book were a huge, single page a la Kerouac’s On the Road scroll).

Pagination is an artificial construct that doesn’t make sense when reading on touchscreen devices.

Bryan has voiced his problems with the Kindle before on this site, here, here, and here.


Human Experience

When is WWDC?

In an unusual chain of events, it appears Apple is announcing the WWDC dates through Siri. Although the Apple website has not been updated with any new info, Siri is proudly proclaiming that WWDC 2016 will indeed be held in San Francisco from June 13th to June 17th. Although Siri didn’t explicitly say, it is almost certain that WWDC will once again be held at Moscone West, simply because it’s the best choice of venue for an event like this in San Francisco. This is an unusual announcement nonetheless, it being the first time Apple has used Siri as the primary announcement vehicle for one of its events. WWDC is expected to feature the unveiling of iOS 10, OS X 10.12 and more…





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Geez, LG

I remember when tech news sites were mocking Apple when they introduced gold color finishing on iPhones, and then on the ‘new’ MacBook.

Seems the mocking is over as Samsung and LG continue to copy Apple’s product designs.

Check out the web page for LG’s new, ultra-thin laptop, the ‘gram’ (really? the whole product name is lowercase?)

And as David Barker noted on Designer News, they even pasted in a shot from Final Cut Pro on OS X.

And here’s the new MacBook Apple debuted in 2015:




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Tesla Means Something

Sharp take by Ben Thompson on the new Tesla Model 3 and the parallels of Tesla to Apple:

When it comes to the iPhone I have argued that Apple’s smartphone was, relative to the phones on the market, Obsoletive: the iPhone effectively reduced the phones that came before it to apps on a general purpose computer, justifying a higher price even as it made cheaper incumbents obsolete.

This doesn’t quite work for Tesla: at the end of the day a Model S is still doing the same job as a traditional BMW or Mercedes-Benz. It just does it better: a Model S accelerates faster, it has more storage, it has innovative features like limited auto-pilot and a huge touch-screen interface, and you don’t have to stop at the gas station. Most importantly, though, it is a Tesla.

The real payoff of Musk’s “Master Plan” is the fact that Tesla means something: yes, it stands for sustainability and caring for the environment, but more important is that Tesla also means amazing performance and Silicon Valley cool. To be sure Tesla’s focus on the high end has helped them move down the cost curve but it was Musk’s insistence on making “An electric car without compromises” that ultimately led to 276,000 people reserving a Model 3, many without even seeing the car: after all, it’s a Tesla.

Thompson refutes the Clayton Christensen’s idea of ‘disruptive innovators’ like he and many others claim Apple and Tesla to be. It’s the strength of the Tesla and Apple brands that allows them to do and achieve what they do, not because they’re necessarily disruptive.

Put that in your disruptive pipe and innovatively smoke it, Christensen.

This is How the Pros Do It

Remember that whole thing back in February where the FBI was demanding Apple unlock unlock the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino terrorism suspect Syed Rizwan Farook? And Apple told the FBI in so many words to go fuck itself? And then the FBI pussied out and said, “Oh, nevermind, we figured it out ourselves. Fuck YOU.”

Well, here is what the FBI did:

FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that the government had purchased “a tool” from a private party in order to unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“Litigation between the government and Apple over the San Bernardino phone has ended, because the government has purchased, from a private party, a way to get into that phone, 5C, running iOS 9,” Comey said.

Hold up. Does this special, magic software work on any iPhone?

The FBI director also said the purchased tool worked only on a “narrow slice of phones” that does not include the newest Apple models, or the 5S.

I’m just picturing the knuckleheads at the FBI googling “iphone jailbreak software 5c”, clicking on the first search result, and buying a software package for $29.95.

Is this how it went down in reality? Unlikely, but it’s fun to imagine.

Another One Bites the Dust

Jim Dalrymple reports that The Loop Magazine is dead:

It is with tremendous sadness that I write this post today. I have tried to figure out a way for The Loop Magazine app to work on the App Store, for the last few months. It turns out, it just won’t. This morning, I removed the app from the App Store.

I will continue to publish to make up for the missing issues over the last few months.

When Apple started Newsstand, I thought it was a way to reach readers with unique content, pay writers well for their content, and create a great experience on an iOS app. I guess I should have realized when Apple killed Newsstand that it was over, but I pressed on. That was a mistake on my part.

I had the privilege to write for The Loop Magazine in 2013 (Issue #6) and I thank Jim for giving me the opportunity to be part of a great publication.